“Oh, it’s just heartburn.”
How often have you heard someone say that or maybe even thought it yourself? The reality is that heartburn (also called acid reflux) is more than just annoying. Left untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, symptoms can lead to esophageal cancer.
Let’s back up a step: Acid reflux, as most of us know, is that uncomfortable feeling that something you ate is coming back up. It can feel like a burning sensation—or even pain—behind the sternum. It happens when the contents in your stomach flow upward into the esophagus because the valve between the two organs doesn’t close properly.